Colt business units face $223K fine for safety violations

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

Colt Defense LLC and Colt's Manufacturing LLC face a total of $223,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The military and commercial firearms manufacturers were cited for 50 alleged violations of safety and health standards at their West Hartford, Conn., manufacturing plant following inspections by OSHA's Hartford Area Office begun in March.

"These citations encompass a cross-section of chemical, electrical and mechanical hazards that can result in burns, lacerations, amputation, crushing injuries, electrocution, explosions and lead poisoning if they are not promptly and fully addressed and corrected," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford.

Colt Defense was issued 25 serious citations, with $76,500 in proposed fines, for exposing employees to lead and lack of controls to reduce those exposures; numerous instances of unguarded machinery; inadequate personal protective equipment and training; storage areas not kept free of accumulated materials posing an explosion hazard; no quick drench shower for employees exposed to corrosive materials; improper disposal of cloths contaminated with combustible liquids; unguarded floor holes; no fire protection system for a dip tank; a leaking roof; and electrical hazards including ungrounded, unguarded or damaged electrical equipment and cords, and untrained employees.

Colt Defense also was issued four repeat citations, with $75,000 in proposed fines, for not conducting required lead exposure monitoring, not requiring employees who were overexposed to lead to shower at the end of each work shift, an incomplete lead compliance program and not keeping surfaces free of lead accumulation. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for a substantially similar hazard and that citation has become a final order. Colt Defense had been cited by OSHA in November 2005 for similar hazards at this location.

Colt's Manufacturing was issued 21 serious citations, with $71,500 in proposed fines, for failing to adequately control the buildup of combustible aluminum dust; failing to maintain respirators in a sanitary condition; not providing annual training to employees exposed to lead; failing to replace a worn wire rope on an overhead hoist; and numerous instances of unguarded machinery and unguarded or ungrounded electrical equipment or cords.

A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Both businesses have 15 business days from receipt of their citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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